Chronic low back pain continues to be a major factor inhibiting the enjoyment of life for many Americans. According to the National Institutes of Health, about 80% of American adults experience low back pain at some point in their lives, and lower back pain is the leading cause of disability on the job and work days lost.

James, a recent patient at Orlando Orthopaedic Center, says his herniated disc got so bad he couldn’t get through a day without having to ice his lower back every night to alleviate the pain.

In an effort to get back to work and back to golf without pain, James turned to Stephen R. Goll, M.D., a board-certified orthopaedic spine surgeon at Orlando Orthopaedic Center.

After a physical therapy examination and a meeting with Dr. Goll, James decided outpatient microdiscectomy low back surgery was his best option. “I’m very pleased with my decision to have surgery done,” James says.

“I’m happy to say that I recently played in a golf tournament and won the longest drive competition just a few months after surgery,” James says. “Dr. Goll and his team did a great job.”

What is Outpatient Microdiscectomy Low Back Surgery?

James trophy

James won longest drive after his surgery.

Microdiscectomy is one of the most frequent surgeries performed by orthopaedic spine surgeons. Also known as microscopic decompression surgery, the objective is to alleviate the pain caused by the intervertebral disc impinging on the root of the spinal nerves.

During the procedure, Dr. Goll will use a special microscope to get a more expansive view of the herniated discs and nerves of the spinal column. A small opening is created into the spinal canal and the disc is removed, relieving the nerve compression caused by the disc material. Because of the comprehensive perspective the microscope provides, Dr. Goll is able to use a pin-point incision to access the spine, thereby saving the surrounding tissues from injury, reducing recovery time, and eliminating hospital stays. With the outpatient microdiscectomy low back surgery, patients are able to go home the same day as the surgery.

Outpatient minimally invasive microdiscectomy surgery is usually done under general anesthesia. The patient is unconscious during the procedure and will not feel anything during surgery. Modern microdiscectomy is a significant improvement over discectomy procedures of the past which required longer incisions, and increased recuperation periods in the hospital, factors that initially caused James to be a little hesitant toward the operation.

“I was a little apprehensive at first,” says James. “But, once I went on to the website and watched a few of the testimonials, I realized that from a recovery standpoint, it was worth the time to fix the herniated disc.”

Recovering After Outpatient Microdiscectomy Low Back Surgery

james golf

James taking full swings pain free.

Microdiscectomy surgery has been shown to have a 90% success rate. Patients often experience immediate pain relief after surgery and resume routine activities shortly thereafter. Full physical recovery can take up to six weeks post-surgery.

“In the end, I’m happy I did it because I am pain-free now in my lower back where my herniated disc was,” says James. “I’m able to get back to everyday life without worrying about laying on a heating pad or putting ice packs on my back each night.”

Most surgeons will tell their patients that surgery is just the first step on the road to full recovery and that physical therapy is a vital component in the healing process. “The physical therapy team at the Winter Park office was great during my recovery following the surgery,” James says.

“I really enjoyed getting to know them and the work that they put into helping me get stronger each day. I found that to be one of the most beneficial things post-surgery; and I continue to do a lot of the exercises and stretches that they showed me while I was in physical therapy.”

After a successful outpatient microdiscectomy low back back surgery, James is thrilled with his newfound physical freedom and the ability to again do what he enjoys most in life.

“I’m happy to say that I’m pain-free now and back doing the things that I love, like playing with my kids and playing golf.”